Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One Step Closer To Curbing Pests' Appetite For Crops

Date:
February 13, 2008
Source:
Kansas State University Research and Extension
Summary:
Scientists have discovered that the salivary glands of a tiny insect may hold a key to developing pest resistance in plants. They found that by using technology to silence a gene in the salivary glands of pea aphids, the insect's lifespan was cut by more than 50 percent. The findings could lead to new ways to control insects in plants, including such important crops as wheat, alfalfa, soybeans, corn and sorghum.

Scientists at Kansas State University have discovered that the salivary glands of a tiny insect may hold a key to developing pest resistance in plants.

A team of K-State researchers found that by using technology to silence a gene in the salivary glands of pea aphids, the insect’s lifespan was cut by more than 50 percent.

“What we found is that when we silenced the most abundant transcript (gene), the aphids died in a few days,” said K-State professor of entomology John Reese.

The findings could lead to new ways to control insects in plants, including such important crops as wheat, alfalfa, soybeans, corn and sorghum, Reese said.

Finding ways to develop insect-resistant crops also brings scientists closer to finding ways to reduce agricultural producers’ dependence on pesticides. That helps the environment and lowers growers’ input costs.

“If we can figure out how to get a plant to prevent the functioning of an insect pest's gene, we can turn that plant into a non-host for that pest,” Reese said.

Reese was part of a research team that included assistant professor of entomology Yoonseong Park and former graduate student Navdeep Mutti, as well as molecular geneticists.

In the study, which was published in the Journal of Insect Science, the researchers injected siRNA into the salivary glands of adult pea aphids, a pest that can be particularly damaging to alfalfa yields. Aphids treated in this way could not survive more than a few days on plants.

Saliva is important in the interaction between aphids and host plants, Reese said. Proteins, including enzymes of aphid saliva, are thought to play several roles – some of which may overcome a plant’s defenses and possibly stimulate plant defenses in non-host plants.

At stake are billions of dollars worth of crops grown every year in the United States and around the world. For example, a study first published by Iowa State University in 2005 found that soybean aphids alone had the potential to cause approximately 3 million acres to be sprayed – an economic toll on its own – and to cause yield losses of more than 55 million bushels, meaning an economic impact of more than $250 million in an outbreak year.

The K-State research was supported by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and by the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University Research and Extension. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University Research and Extension. "One Step Closer To Curbing Pests' Appetite For Crops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080211213240.htm>.
Kansas State University Research and Extension. (2008, February 13). One Step Closer To Curbing Pests' Appetite For Crops. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080211213240.htm
Kansas State University Research and Extension. "One Step Closer To Curbing Pests' Appetite For Crops." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080211213240.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins